Laporte switches from France to Spain ahead of Euro 2020

Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte, centre, celebrates with Riyad Mahrez, left, Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias, right, after scoring the opening goal during the English League Cup final soccer match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. (Alastair Grant/AP)

ZURICH — Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte is switching from France to Spain ahead of the European Championship.

FIFA said Friday it approved the switch of eligibility after the French soccer federation consented to the Spanish federation’s request.

Now 26, Laporte is a former France under-21 international but has never played for the senior national team.

France coach Didier Deschamps seemed likely to select Laporte in 2019 until a serious knee injury playing for Man City sidelined him for several months.

The Spanish government said on Tuesday it had given Laporte citizenship.

Laporte, who was born in France, has said he has family roots in the Basque region through his great-grandparents and spent eight years with Athletic Bilbao before being bought by Man City in 2018.

FIFA rules allow changes in nationality if a player lived in a country where they were not born for at least five years, or the switch is to the country of birth of their parents or grandparents.

Spain’s opening match at Euro 2020 is scheduled for June 14 in Seville against Sweden.

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